By Ingrid Borchorst, DK – Kennel Borchorst (Welsh and Australian Terrier)
As you probably read in the Christmas Issue of TERRIER WORLD, Bert Hunt of Scartop fame, for the second year in a row, won Terrier of the Year in Denmark. The two winning half-brothers are respectively; Ch. Scartop Storm Trooper and Ch. Scartop Nemesis.
Only very few breeders ever achieve top-winning with more than one or two dogs of their own breeding. Bert Hunt has done this with a number of high quality Lakelands. Read this story behind Scartop and share some of the experiences a life with Terriers has taught Bert Hunt.
Picked up from a pet shop back home in England, Bert Hunt’s family was involved in Cocker Spaniel breeding, but when Bert had to decide for his first dog of his own, the choice fell on a little brown Jack Russell puppy. Unfortunately the little fellow died soon after from Chorea.
“But I couldn’t do without a dog and now it was for sure that it had to be a Terrier. This time I went through a pile of dog books at the library and the decision was made in favor of the Lakeland, mainly because of the sentence in the book calling it: “a big dog in a little body, with the heart of a lion.”
Bert Hunt continues: “The first Lakeland was picked up from a pet shop. It chose my daughter, and from the safety of her arm showed a mouthful of teeth every time another pup tried it’s luck!”
Later on, Bert Hunt became interested in the aspects of the show-dog world and then went around the country for several shows with eyes and ears open, trying to learn as much as possible about the breed.
He got some more Lakelands and then showed them to other exhibitors for their opinions. Most of these were rather mixed and polite answers – except from one.
“Of course I was disappointed. Bill Stevensen pulled my dogs to pieces and then put his own dogs on the table and pointed out the differences. His explanations were so lucid and clear that I got the point”, Bert says.
Hearing this, I wonder how many people could swallow such hard words about their stock. Bert could.
Learning the Name of the Game
It took some more dogs and time before he was on the right track, but in the meantime, he learned about trimming and handling from the experts.
“As a matter of fact Herbert Atkinson was the first person who asked me to handle some of his dogs. And I was really honored, because I had a great deal of respect and admiration for him. Fred Sills helped me a lot and repeatedly told me only one breed.” Bert remembers.
At the shows Bert now often had to deal with 7-8 dogs, diversified into different breeds, among them the Wire, which Bert really loves.
It was quite difficult for him to show his own dogs then, it wouldn’t have been tolerated for long if he won with his own stock and generally they were made up and then retired, to make way for clients’ dogs.
Finally, when Bert Hunt got some foundation material, it turned out to be two very good brood bitches. One from Renardier and the other from Frank Jones. Her name was Cassie of Jonwyre and she, mated to CH Jollroger of Scartop, produced CH Scartop Warrior of Renadier – but this one, we shall return to later on.
“In every breeding program luck plays its part, too, and Bert had such a lucky purchase: Once I went on a sentimental journey to see where my first Lakeland was born, and here I saw a bitch covered in hair, sitting out in the rain, in a run full of sheep heads, without any shelter – I was appalled.”, Bert recalls. “and I felt so sorry for her I ended up buying her and took her home, thinking how to break the news to my wife. But when she saw her, she felt the same as me.”
The bitch certainly deserved a better home, and when she was cleaned up and Bert saw her pedigree, he was amazed. She was six years old, but beautiful. She bred GBCH Scartop Suzie and GBCH USACH Scartop Crazy Horse.
When in Rome Do As the Romans
In 1964 Bert Hunt came to Denmark. It is always difficult to change nationality, I believe, and in the beginning Bert has some problems.
“All the coloured ribbons and all dogs with Certificate Quality coming in for BOB and then being placed down to four places, all this was strange to me”, he says. You had to learn too, that it was not looked upon with favour, if your dog came too close to the other exhibitors. In England this is often done by mutual agreement to make both dogs look their best, but the Danes thought it was a lousy trick.”
On behalf of my countrymen, I think we all feel it requires something to impress the old Vikings, but on the other hand, it has meant a lot for the quality of trimming and performance in our ring, that Bert, among other Anglo-Saxons, has been so very inspiring for us.
In Bert and his wife’s (Vivenne Lauritsen) life dogs play an important part for both of them. They live together with 10 Lakelands and one old Afghan in an old farmhouse on Zealand.
“In the everyday routine, the dogs are kenneled in pairs”, Bert explains. “Then they have a playmate. The showdogs are on the table almost every day. Then they don’t have to stand for such long periods, it gives better results and they do not regard the table as a disaster area. The showdogs are washed every couple of weeks, it keeps the furnishings soft and plentiful and makes them easier to trim. There is no easy way to condition a top showdog. It is very time consuming, but the time on the table gives you a good contact with the dog.”
Type is a Very Emotive Subject
The type of Lakelands Bert Hunt introduced in Denmark were a bit different from the type we had in Scandinavia. I aske Bert about Lakelands around the world, what’s his opinion of them? How does he read the Standard?
“I think type is a very emotive subject”, Bert begins, “but as far as I am concerned, there is only one type, the type favoured in England, as described in the Breed Standard.” Bert continues: “Whilst a Lakeland should not resemble a Fox Terrier, there are similarities. You should not go too far in the opposite direction; the slightly clumsy Lakeland with the short, heavy head (unfortunately most of these are weak in foreface as well) a little short in neck; often a bit small, wide in front and with a big ribcage. This type is the one many Scandinavian exhibitors prefer. Nobody could say it was a Fox Terrier”, Bert states, “but on the other hand, I don’t think it fits the Standard either. I find the short front-legged type to the most objectionable. It might not exceed 37 cm, but I feel it could not do the work it was intended for: run with the hounds and work in rock holes. The lack of balance is extremely offensive, it makes the dog appear to be a collection of ill fitting parts. However, some of these have done a lot of winning.”
I am sure these statements of Bert’s will make the blood run a bit faster in some Lakeland fanciers, but it is worth remembering, too, that the words come from a person who has proven his abilities in the breed. For all judges, these thought must certainly be in some interest, too I believe.
The type discussion is essential to Bert, and his continues:
“I have heard some Scandinavian exhibitors and judges say, that anything over 37 cm should have a 2nd prize. I feel this is absolutely ridiculous, they were originally 38 cm, before the Standard was altered.”
The American Standard states that the ideal size is to be preferred, but the most important thing is symmetry, type and proportion. Bert heartily concurs with this statement, however, there must be limits and 1 cm deviation either way must be sufficient, he thinks.
These were some comments on type in Scandinavia and England. Bert has also been judging the breed in America, and to end this “type-tour”, let us hear a bit about his impressions from over there.
“The American’s put a great emphasis on showmanship and movement. They get very few specialist judges and type surfers. Red ones are very popular, they cannot be confused with Welsh or black & tan Wires. They have a few good examples, but in general toplines coud be better and a lot of the reds are heavy in front, with big ribcages and short legs, but you can nearly always count on temperament.”
One of Bert’s favorite dogs may very well illustrate in picture his words on type: GBCH Calbergh Straybeam of Trucote is her name.
“She was one of the most glamorous Lakelands I have ever seen. Beautiful golden grizzle, with perhaps the best head and ears you could have. She had an impressive neck and topline and was a great showgirl as well. Her breeding was mainly Wyndam.”
From Bert’s own breeding he considers GBCH Scartop Peggy Sue as probably the best he has bred.
Bert Hunt admits that his way of breeding is perhaps not very scientific, although it looks quite classic to me, namely linebreeding.
“I think, if you mix types your stock tends to become very inconsistent, it might produce an occasional star, but its breeding potential is not likely to be outstanding. Theoretically, the dog and bitch are supposed to play an equal part in determining the characteristics of the puppies but I believe the bitch has a greater influence on the offspring than the dog, and I tend to concentrate on the bitch line.
When I choose my breeding bitches, temperament is an essential”, Bert says. “they must have bones and substance, and usually the doggy bitches make the best broods, though I will not consider the heavy headed ones, they tend to pass this through. Type is still the most important factor.”
Bert would not keep an inferior specimen, just because it had a good pedigree or keep a good dog with a bad pedigree.
“I believe it is very important that all the dogs on the pedigree or very nearly all are of the same type and if possible, of the same lines.”
One of the Lakelands living at the Scartop, is the Swedish bred bitch, Harper’s Rosie. She has a special story.
When Bert first came to Denmark, one of his old clients in England, the Greenways of Rayfos fame, asked him to handle a dog they had sold to Sweden, and help the owner, Tore Bradde.
This was the beginning of a strong friendship between Bert and Tore. Bert has only good memories about his little friend:
“He was very knowledgeable and I never heard him criticize anybody. I considered him to be one of the best Lakeland breeders in the world.”
Whilst Bert was handling for Tore, he had the chance to see his dogs in the rough. He only kept three or four at the time, but they were all of the same type and of high quality.
Bert Hunt’s own stock was closely linebred, and at this time it needed to be increased in the genetic pool so Bert was interested in the red bitch.
“At first it was hard for Tore to let Rosie go, but he realized that I had more possibilities for her and she went to Denmark. Since then, I have been offered a lot of money for her,” Bert says, “but she will never be for sale. Since Tore died, she will stay with me, not only for her many obvious qualities but also for sentimental reasons.”
Strangely enough, in Rosie’s 3rd generation, Bert found one of his own breeding. GBCH Scartop Warrior of Renadier, who was sold to Germany and can be found in a high percentage of German and Continental Lakelands. There were also quite a few Wyndam dogs on the pedigree, so it was close enough to Bert’s own lines to be useful.
Already in Rosie’s first litter it was a bingo. A son: CH Scartop Rebellion, has recently made USACH in one weekend and he is also Number 1 Lakeland Terrier Club System, 1990 in Denmark.
Rosie herself, has among other wins, been Best In Show in Arnhem, Holland.
Bert Hunt is a man of many talents. Would you believe that in his younger days, he was a member of a rock group?!
I do not know if it is more difficult to become a rock star, than to be a breeder of some merit, in our comparable small world of dogs. The only thing I know is, that the success of Bert Hunt is has made a huge impact on the world of Lakeland Terriers.